Running With Her Head Held High

March 19, 2019

Track and Field

For one 10-year-old girl, Speed River Track & Field Club (SRTFC) changed her life for the better. Kariann had experienced some really tough times in her young life. Along with her older sister and mother, she has suffered trauma including the loss of a beloved brother to Cystic Fibrosis, domestic violence and abuse, and the temporary loss of her home with her mother. All of this had taken a heavy toll on Kariann.

Kariann’s mother recognized that she loved running and so signed her up for SRTFC. But Kariann didn’t want to go as she experienced anxiety and a lack of self-confidence due to her childhood experiences. She even had anxiety nightmares for weeks before the session was to start. Her mom encouraged her to just try it once and if she didn’t like it, she wouldn’t need to go again.

On her first day at SRTFC, Kariann was waiting in the lobby crying. Then her new coach, Sade, came out to meet her. Sade took Kariann under her wing and nurtured her through that first day. When it was over, she told her mom that she loved it, and at one point she asked why she couldn’t go every day.

Her mom told us, “If you ever want to know if you are making a difference in a child’s life, I can say that you do. Speed River Track & Field Club turned Kariann’s life around. She is a different girl after participating in track. For the FIRST TIME in a very long time, she is proud of herself. She is more confident and holds her head higher. Sade has made a lasting impression on Kariann that will last a lifetime.”

For the past six years, SRTFC has partnered with the Children’s Foundation Free to Grow Program to ensure more children will have life-changing experiences under the guidance of positive, nurturing coaches.